It seems a life time ago when Arsenal lost the Europa League final and finished a disappointing fifth in the league. At the end of the season most of us agreed that:
- We were short of a quality winger. Iwobi was making progress but not enough to claim a wing position; Auba was not really suitable for wing-play but nevertheless did a decent job when asked to play there. Mkhi and Ozil were not really suitable for wing play either.
- Kola fits into a 3-4-3 well enough but not so much in a back-four, and Nacho was struggling to keep producing the fine form of previous season game in game out.
- Our defending was poor and we lacked a strong CB pairing.
- Furthermore, our defending as a team was below par and this had to do with the balance of the team and tactics.
- Our midfield lacked identity and consistency. Emery struggled to get the balance right between supporting our defence and aiding our attack throughout the season.
Two and a half months later, the club has bought and sold players and these are my initial eight conclusions:
- All the gaps left by departing players, whether it’s Koz or Rambo etc, have been more than adequately filled, but the loss of our very own Iwobi is painful from an emotional point of view. We’ve got good money for him and it remained to be see whether he would break through soon for us, but it was great to see him grow and become a man and I liked his enthusiasm and pride for the shirt… He will be missed!
- With Pepe we have added a winger of great quality, promise and fab stats for Lille in France. The Ivory Coast superstar is not just a good winger but also suitable for playing as CF. This is exactly the sort of player we needed to add and so well done Emery and co. It was also an important statement by the club and took not just Gooners by surprise!
- With Tierney we have a copy of Bellerin on the other flank. Once Vector Hector and Tierney are fully fit to play, the team will literally and figuratively get wings, and evenly so: this will give us both thrust and balance and it will make a real difference.
- With the arrival of Martinelli and possible inclusion in the squad of Nelson and Saka this season, Arsenal have added more attacking energy and penetration to the team. Yes these boys are young and likely not to score and assist a lot initially, but they will learn from the experienced ‘PALs’ and may grow a lot this season.
- The important thing to see here as well is that Arsenal are not just investing in the coming season but are also safeguarding the future: Martinelli, Pepe, Tierney and Saliba should all be first team players well into the next decade, all going well.
- Saliba looks like a player who will be claiming a first team CB spot when he finally comes to Arsenal. Holding is another player who is likely to become first choice CB this, or at least next, season. Sok and Chambers are also close to first team football but especially the latter may only be good enough for back-up/the cup games. With Koz’s self-forced departure, Arsenal needed a CB with leadership skills, PL and CL experience and just for a couple of years… The signing of Luiz, therefore, makes perfect sense: quality CBs are hard to find and they all demand to play… Emery can pick his strongest CB pairing this season from: Holding, Luiz, Chambers, Mustafi and Sokratis. We should be okay.
- Ceballos is highly rated in Europe and Willock is looking ready to play in the first team. The modern game does not require a full-blooded DM anymore, however much we would like to have one. We need balance in midfield through multi-skilled midfielders and with the addition of Ceballos and Willock to the squad, Emery can pick the right pair for different kind of games – depending on strength of the opponent and whether we play them home or away. I expect our core pairing to be Xhaka and Torreira: for top-five encounters and many away games. If we are looking at a more typical box to box player next to Xhaka or Torreira, either Ceballos or Willock, or maybe even AMN or Guendouzi, may just make the difference. The combo of Torreira and Willock may suit us best when we are pushing the opponent high into their own half and we need quick, mobile and aggressive midfield players for if and when we need to avoid a turnover. This combo, or one of them with Ceballos, could also work well against teams like Pool and Citeh as they often succeed in pushing us right back into our own half.
- I wrote in previous posts that Mesut will play more midfield-to-box this season (supporting the two more deep midfielders continuously). He cannot do this game in game out for ninety minutes, so we need back up. And that man is most likely to be Ceballos, who is quite similar to Mesut it seems (need to see more of him of course). I have also high hopes for Smith-Rowe in this position. The key thing is Emery has much more midfield options to get the balance right this season – and I have not even spoken about the possibility of playing the likes of Chambers, Mustafi or Luiz in midfield if we wanted to add a bit more DM bite to it.
So consider me very excited about the possibilities of this squad and potential for the future. It is now up to Unai to work his magic with it and time will tell whether he will be successful.
12 thoughts on “Arsenal’s Best Transfer Window Ever! Eight Initial Conclusions.”
Warm welcome for Alex by Silva:
Breezy stuff, TA.
Really been an unreal transfer window for us, given what we’ve been served for quite a while now. And our excitement isn’t because we probably didn’t expect much (having been regaled with how Emery only has £45m to spend, as stated by AST and the media hacks) and have therefore, become easier to please, but it is because the rumours kept rolling in and it did look like we were actually busy. The club has become a bit less guarded about its moves too and you will find that Emery will be pointed in his responses, as against Wenger’s coy remarks about targets (which we loved, by the way). When you add the interview by Josh Kroenke (where he said our fans should be rather excited) that met with incredulity by the fan base, you can imagine that a few owe Josh an apology. Well, that’s by the way.
Indeed, it’s a bit sad to find that a kid who has been with us for about 15years now, since joining at the age of 7, had to make way while the likes of Mkhitaryan and Elneny stayed on. That’s the only dampener in what has been a fantastic window. But, I guess it had to do with money coming in and balancing the books, which Iwobi could guarantee with interest from Everton. I think Iwobi will be happy to go to a club where the scrutiny will be less and the fans less critical; where the demands are a modest top 6 finish, for now, in order to grow to that next phase of his development. I had hoped he could win the Europa league or the AFCON to get him into a mature frame of mind because he always looked to me like he hadn’t come to terms with the fact he is no longer in the academy. This move will serve him well and I do hope we have a buy-back clause of some sort or a good sell-on clause in that contract. He will have good company with Theo and Deplh; I also expect him to enjoy playing with Moise Kean.
Now, Emery has no choice but to turn this group into a winning (3 Points) machine as he won’t be cut much slack now. He is condemned to succeed!
Great post TA. We got what we wanted and it really is great to get what the team needed.
Fair play to Iwobi, and I hope that he doesn’t come back to haunt us.
Good TW and let the new season begin.
Well thank you Eris and 84 for your contributions and nothing to disagree with! 🙂
Other than that it has been quiet… everybody must be agreeing then 😀
The good news is we have a match preview from GN5 awaiting us and so we are getting ready to discuss the real games again. The season is now very, very close!!!!!!!!!
Quiet? From either HT or myself?
Still early yet (not quite 4:30am) over here TA… 😉
But honestly, you guys have nicely summed up the analytic, strategic, and emotional aspects of the whirlwind last-10-days of this Summer’s TW.
Usually it’s HT hunting his stimulants to discuss The Arsenal.
This morning it’s me– and having to trod off to the office.
That is early, JwobbleU!
On another note, I always felt that Kroenke managed the club well and was wrongly criticised for a so called lack of investment, and I am hoping that this summer gets the fans of his back for a while. Nationally and internationally, Arsenal are seen as having done the best business, which is nice for once.
The transfer window additions plus our invigorated youngsters have elevated my levels of anticipation for the new season. Injuries will rob us of our top team to start the season and our new additions will take time to fit in so it will most likely be 10 or more games into the season before we see the full effect of the changes.
We have taken away a lot of our buying power by the layered payment scheme but hopefully a top four finish will help to replenish the kitty with CL money.
Our game starts at 9:00am local time on Sunday so I will have to do with a cup of tea instead of my normal game time liquids. In Canada DAZN has purchased the rights to all EPL, CL, and EL games
The cost is quite reasonable at $150.00 a year and it also shows, boxing, rugby, tennis, cricket and darts – it will show every single EPL game; starting with Liverpool v Norwich today.
9am is not too bad – not so much for 17HT though… but then he is away anyway! $150 per years is much cheaper than in the UK..
Eris, if you are okay I am going to steal that comment for a future post from you!!
New Post New Post 🙂
Thanks for that information, GunnerN5. I have Bell as providers for all my requirements (TV, telephone, mobility and internet); hopefully, they pay for sub-agency rights from DAZN. They shall be showing the EPL so, I am certain they have a way they work these things out.
In any case, I will have that problem only when I return to Canada. In Nigeria, I have the proverbial best seat in the house. All 380 games of the EPL; every game of the CL and UEL from the group stages……
New post? Hey, TA! We aren’t done here, are we? 🤨🤓
Well, go ahead man.
Well my man I needed to do something on Alex…